Recycling and environmental action should be a bigger part of the Jewish communal world, according to University of Pittsburgh alumnus Henry Goodelman. And with his recent launch of ReJews, a nonprofit recycling organization, he is doing his part to make those practices universal.
A Philadelphia native, Goodelman graduated from Pitt in 2011 with a master’s degree from the School of Education and is working as an admissions counselor at Touro College in New York. He founded ReJews in March 2014 after being motivated by success he had in Israel in 2012, when he initiated the Aish Recycling Program at his yeshiva Aish HaTorah. Through that program, Goodelman spearheaded the strategic placement of recycling bins across the Aish Jerusalem campus and created a system where student volunteers delivered the bottles to the recycling station in Jerusalem’s Old City.
He is now primed, he said, “to lead a movement to help grow the opportunity to promote recycling in the Jewish world and am now seeking even more new organizations and businesses in Pittsburgh to be included in the ReJews Chosen Organization program.”
ReJews, he said, “promotes and establishes environmental action and recycling initiatives in schools, synagogues, community centers, restaurants, businesses and offices.”
ReJews rewards the organizations and facilities that take part in recycling programs through donations, sponsorship opportunities, guest speakers, classroom curriculum support, school trips and free online advertising space.
Recycling, Goodelman said, “is an easy thing to do and it makes a big difference.”
“Most synagogues, day schools, restaurants and offices don’t prioritize or focus on sustainability,” according to Goodelman. It is the intention of ReJews, he said, “to build sufficient funding and trash can manufacturing capabilities and connections to be able to provide and share some custom manufactured bins, or at least more custom labels and stickers, for participants to mark their containers that they have and use.”
Goodelman is hoping to connect with Jewish organizations in Pittsburgh to increase awareness and encourage a dialogue on protecting the environment.
He is currently accepting applications from organizations that wish to partner with ReJews. Joining with the organization is free, he said.
“My ultimate goal is to help everybody,” Goodelman said. “I started ReJews to help Jewish people, and now ReJews can help the world, or at least can help Western Pennsylvania.
“Everyone has bottles,” he added. “There is no question that bringing this together is very easy.”
For more information, go to rejews.org/chosen-organizations.html.
Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.